If you think about it, “Opulent Mutts” is in fact an oxymoron, because how can a “mutt” possibly be described as “opulent”?

Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.
Mutt (noun): A dog, especially a mongrel. "a long-haired mutt of doubtful pedigree.”
Opulent (adjective): Ostentatiously costly and luxurious.

Oxymorons are often used for dramatic effect or comedy. They are also used to make people stop and think whether to laugh or to wonder. What does my Oxymoron make you stop and think about?

The Opulent Mutts brand is not only about celebrating our pets because we love and adore them, it is also about celebrating and promoting GREAT Dog Ownership. Being a Pet Portrait Artist and a Professional Puppy Carer, these two things for me go hand in hand.

The pet industry is massive and there are obscene amounts of money spent in the name of “love” for our pets. Statistics show that many of us spoil our pets, and it is great that so many pets are cherished and cared for. But alas there are just as many pets that end up with behavioural problems, abused or abandoned, or worse, being put to death.

You might think that this has nothing to do with you because you love your dog, and they would never end up in a rescue centre or on the table of the unfortunate vet who has to stick the needle in, but I would like to suggest that we are all involved and that it is everybody’s responsibility to help make a change.

Think about it, dogs once had a purpose, they worked for us and alongside us, they were animals with skills that were being put to good use. But then they became pets and sat on the laps of aristocrats because we wanted something to stroke and cuddle and keep us warm. Then they began to be “designed” to look the way we wanted them to look, shorter legs, squashed faces, more wrinkles. Now some of us dress them up in outfits because we think they look cute or funny. Some of us spend huge amounts of money on birthday parties for our dogs, and some of us are even paying “Professional Pet Party Planners” to organise canine hen and stag events followed by actual wedding ceremonies. It’s happening. And it’s only getting worse.

How many of you have an Instagram account specially for your dog? How many of you have given your dog a voice using that Instagram account? Dogs don’t have voices, and they don’t have fingers or thumbs to type either. We all do this though, because it’s fun. We all use dogs for our own entertainment. I will put my hands up, I do it too! But what happens when other people see all of that fun and want to be part of it. They think that this is what being a dog owner is all about. But it’s not. You and I both know that it’s not even half the story.

Being a dog owner is hard work. It’s dirty and cold and miserable for more than half of the year. They are disgusting and smelly, they fart, they vomit, they poo and pee a LOT, and they destroy things. They are antisocial and they show us up in public places. We have to walk them several times a day no matter what the weather or how we feel, and train them and feed them and pay for their vet bills. We pay to have them looked after when we’re not around, and we pay to have them groomed because we don’t know how to do it ourselves. We can’t go about our daily business with them because dogs aren’t allowed in the office, or in the shops, or even on the tube unless they can be carried down the escalator, and let’s face it we don’t all have handbag dogs. They also chase cats, squirrels, cyclists and children. They get us into trouble and they make us feel like we are terrible human beings. And when that person who finally gets their adorable pug after swooning over yours and many others on Instagram finds all of this out, it’s often too late.

My oxymoron “Opulent Mutts” asks you to question how you portray yourself as a Dog Owner. It asks you to question the benefit your dog gets from being spoilt, living a life of so-called luxury, and having an Instagram account of their very own. It’s not enough that your dog is loved and safe and fed well. It’s not even enough that your dog is a model citizen or that you are a Great Dog Owner. Because for every dog lucky enough to have a responsible owner who loves and provides for them them there are countless other dogs who don’t. Every mutt deserves to live a life of opulence, and maybe we can change the fates of more dogs by helping to change the way people think of Dog Ownership.

What do you think GREAT Dog Ownership is? I think that it is about being informed, and sharing what you know, so that other dog owners can be and do the same. Becoming a GREAT Dog Owner is a long journey. In my work as a Professional Puppy Carer I get to share the most important part of that journey with my clients, and support them along the way. I started out as a new puppy owner myself, and the more mistakes I made the more I understood and learnt about what my puppy really needed from me, and I became passionate about wanting to share that insight and experience with others. I love the fact that as a Pet Portrait Artist I also get to feel the love that so many people have for their pets, which is beautiful and helps me to focus on the positive.



Every mutt deserves to live a life of opulence

Use the hashtag to help spread the word about what YOU think GREAT Dog Ownership is really about!
Together let us paint a picture of Dog Ownership that shows more, and that is more likely to help change the fates of many dogs as pets.